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Creating Personalized Command Keys In Microsoft Word

command key

Most Microsoft Word users are familiar with shortcut commands such as Control-X, Control-C, and Control-V for Cut, Copy, and Paste. Some may even be familiar with Control-S, Control-F, and Control-Z for Save, Find, and Undo. But there are many features of Word that are not assigned a shortcut key. Microsoft Word makes it easy to customize shortcut keys to fit the needs of the user.

Reason For Creating A Personalized Command Key

Command keys should be generated for those commands a user calls upon frequently. An example might be a user that frequently generates lists (products, employees, etc). Then the list must be sorted (UPC, name, etc.). After selecting the list in Word 2003, the user must then:

Click on Table in the Menu Bar
Click on Sort… near the bottom of the Table drop down menu.
It may not seem like a lot of work, but if performed frequently, why not make a personalized command key like Alternate-S?

Creating A Personalized Command Key

While no special preparation is necessary for creating the command key, it is best to display the ribbon (2007, 2010) or toolbar (2003) that contains the desired command. It’s time to begin creating the command key.

Press Control-Alternate-+ (It must be the plus key on the numeric keypad).
The pointer changes into a symbol that looks like a highway cloverleaf (see image at beginning of this document).
Click on the desired command.
The Customize Keyboard dialog box opens.
The top right display box shows the command chosen.

Half way down the dialog box on the left, any shortcut keys that already exist for this command are displayed. (If a shortcut key combination already exists, the user may simply wish to use that command key and close the Customize Keyboard dialog box.)

If no keyboard shortcut exists, the user simply presses a shortcut key combination (Ex.: Alternate-K). When choosing a key combination it is best to try to make it mnemonic, like Alternate-I for Insert/Picture/From File (Photo).

If that combination is already being used for another command, that command will be displayed below the proposed key shortcut. The user has the option to create a new link for the command key combination or simply try another combination. It would probably be best to do the latter.

Decide whether this command key is for this document only or should be available for all documents. Choosing Normal on the right side of the dialog box will make the command key available for all documents in the future and those that already exist.

Microsoft Word provides over a hundred shortcut key combinations. Sometimes, a user finds herself in need of a quick access key for a command without a shortcut. If the user makes use of this key regularly, he may want to create a customized shortcut key.